User-friendly system to obtain permits gaining new traction

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 07:49 PM

The work to streamline new business permitting in Henderson has born some fruit since a team formed to begin a quest for one-stop permitting assessed the situation as broken.

According to Henderson Planning Director Erris Dunston, newly added tools for simplifying what developers have to go through to be in compliance with regulations is a development guide, a new permit application form and software aids that are undergoing customizing for individual city departments.

Dunston said a long process remains as each department is tasked with providing input to develop the custom documentation.

Dunston said that her One-Stop Permitting Process Improvement Team remains on task with moving the cause forward from a terribly broken system before efforts began early this year.

One of her team members, Councilman Jim Kearney, said his interest remains primarily focused on the greater goal of streamlining processes between the city and county departments to achieve a true one-stop permit reality.

“I think this has come a long way in simplifying the process,” Kearney said. “The team has looked at what needs to be done to make the process more user-friendly.”

Kearney said there should be an emphasis on improving the efficiency of the system without compromising any important regulations that are in place.

“There is a certain amount of due diligence that needs to be maintained regarding regulations, but I have said before that we have to be customer friendly — constantly mindful of our customers and what they experience in dealing with us,” Kearney said.

“It is a regulatory process,” he added. “It does not have to be a cumbersome process. The goal is not to circumvent any of the rules, but to make the process run more smoothly.”

Kearney said there should be an additional focus on new and smaller businesses. He explained larger corporations have engineering contractors and other professional assistance to stay in compliance with city, county, state and federal regulations on their business developments.

Dunston said the city

According to Dunston, it is vitally important to give developers and business leaders a complete report on all of the city requirements up front. She added there has been a successful combining of several individual department processes into one.

Also, the city’s Technical Review Committee will be tasked with providing their input on the process toward a one-stop permit result.

In June, a city probe into business development permits revealed what was at that time assessed as a broken-down system, with deeper problems the more Dunston’s team delved into it.

Problems included zoning and variance requests that have had to be redone, at delay and further cost penalties against prospective business leaders.

“I think all of us walked away from this process realizing we didn’t know how broken our process really was,” Dunston said.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.